Nest box placement

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Fletcher, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. Fletcher

    Fletcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2007
    central OH
    I'll only post this if I think it makes sense.

    We have a 4x8 coop with a sloped roof, roughly 5ft down to 2ft. The window and door open on the 5ft roof side and the chicken door is on the 2ft side. The entire coop is elevated so that the girls have shade underneath it inside the run and we have easier access though we can't reach all the way across the coop. The roost is to the left of the door near the window. The food and water hang from the center 2x4. The only place to put the nest boxes is below the big door or along the wall between the big door and the chicken door. I bought two black milk crates for nests and am planning to set them on the floor.

    The chicken door faces west and we get some winds from that direction (especially colder ones, but not winter winds - those are from the north); I'm concerned that the chickens won't use the nest boxes if they feel 'breezy'. Should I put something along the side to block the breeze? The slope of the roof actually keeps out the rain (and we've had some serious storms where the silly birds would NOT go inside so the door was left open). Will the girls have enough 'privacy' to lay?

    Thank you for reading through. I'm trying hard not to make this more complicated than it needs to be. I'm sure that if I provide SOME kind of nest, they'll use it. Golf balls or fake eggs to let them know WHERE.
     
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Michigan
    Can you post pictures of what you describe? Your description is very good, but I think pics will help lots! With next boxes, they should be lower than the roost (because chickens will roost on the highest place they can, and you don't want them pooping on the nest boxes), in a dark and quiet location, and sort of closed in, so they feel safe. If you check the coop page or search for nest boxes, you'll find loads of info. on them and lots of pictures that might help you decide. Good luck!
     
  3. Fletcher

    Fletcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2007
    central OH
    Wynette, I'd love to post pics (I even have a photobucket account), but I can't get the pictures off the camera and onto the computer! DH is out of town right now.
    The roost is higher than the boxes. All six of them line up on the top roost and jostle for who gets the window seat! I just don't know how to make the coop dark and closed in. The window faces east, but the boxes would be away from it.
    I'm really afraid that they'll go under the coop and lay eggs where we can't reach them. I can just see myself gently raking the eggs out!
     
  4. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Michigan
    You can also put some golf balls or fake eggs in the nest boxes to encourage them to use them; chickens like to lay eggs in places other chickens have done so. I'm sure you'll be fine! Sometimes it does take them a little while to begin laying in the boxes, but it seems like they eventually "get it."
     
  5. Fletcher

    Fletcher Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2007
    central OH
    Thanks, Wynette. I'm going to go with the milk crates and we'll see what happens. The girls are only 13 weeks, so we have a few weeks to play with before we can even THINK about eggs! I'll try to come up with some thing to make their corner a little cozier and less 'breezy'.
     
  6. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    Sep 25, 2007
    Michigan
    Oh, 13 weeks - yep, you have some time. You might think about blocking access to nest boxes until you have them on layer feed (which you shouldn't do before 18 weeks). I let my young ones have access, and they thought it was a real nice place to sleep and poop! So, I ended up putting shoe boxes in each nest box until they were old enough to lay, to get them out of the habit of sleeping in them. Then, when I took out the shoe boxes, I put the golf balls in that same day. Worked like a charm! Make sure you post a picture of your first egg when you get it! [​IMG]
     

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